EUGENE, Ore. – Team USA won nine medals, four of them gold, at the World Championships at Hayward Field Sunday.
The Americans went 1-2 in the women’s pole vault and men’s 110-meter high hurdles and swept all three medals in the men’s shot put.
But the least surprising sweep at Tracktown on a postcard evening in the Willamette Valley was also the most impressive.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won a record fifth Worlds 100 title in leading a 1-2-3 Jamaican sweep of women’s track and field’s marquee event.
The 35-year-old mother was never challenged in blasting to a World Championships record 10.67-second clocking, breaking a mark (10.70) set by American Marion Jones in 1999. Fraser-Pryce was followed by Shericka Jackson in 10.73 and Elaine Thompson-Herah at 10.81.
“I can’t even imagine the amount of times I’ve had setbacks and I’ve bounced back and I’m here again,” Fraser-Pryce said.
It appeared to many in the sport that Fraser-Pryce’s reign was over after Thompson-Herah swept the Olympic 100 and 200 crowns for a second consecutive Games last summer in Tokyo.
But she jumped into the lead from the start and was never challenged further solidifying her position as the greatest female 100 meter sprinter in history.
Of the 10 Olympic or Worlds 100 titles available between 2008 and 2022, seven have been won by Fraser-Pryce. She watched the 2017 Worlds on TV while in labor with the birth of her son Zyon.
Her time Sunday gave her the four fastest times of 2022 and 10 career marks at 10.71 or faster, two more than Thompson-Herah and three more than Florence Griffith Joyner and Jones have combined.
“Today I was able to come away with the win,” Fraser-Pryce said. “I feel blessed to have this talent and to continue to do it at 35, having a baby, still going, and hopefully inspiring women that they can make their own journey.”
Team USA’s sweep of the shot put came in the most dramatic event of the evening, two-time Olympic champion and Oregon native Ryan Crouser, the world outdoor and indoor record holder, and Joe Kovacs, the reigning World champion trading the lead through the first five of six rounds.
“It was a battle out there,” Crouser said.
Kovacs took the lead in the fifth round with a 75-feet-1 ¼ throw, just off his World Championships record. But Crouser came right back with a 75-3 ¼ toss that broke the meet record and would hold up for the victory and his first Worlds title, the only hole in his resume.
“This is a moment I’ve dreamed about forever,” Crouser said “and to have it come true is even better than I expected.”
Josh Awotunde claimed the bronze with a personal best of 73-1 ¾.
“We’ve always said we are the best shot put nation in the world and tonight we proved it,” Kovacs said.
The U.S. might have had a second 1-2-3 were it not for a controversial disqualification in the men’s 110-meter high hurdles. Devon Allen, the former Oregon star and world leader, was disqualified for a false start. With the final already depleted by the absence of Jamaica’s Hansie Parchment, the Olympic champion, who hit a hurdle warming up before the final and injured a hamstring. Allen was ruled to have had a reaction time of 0.099 seconds, just under the allowable reaction time of 0.100, a decision that was greeted with resounding boos from the hometown crowd.
When the race was finally restarted Grant Holloway successfully defended his Worlds title, edging rising star Trey Cunningham 13.03 to 13.08.
“I am just suffering,” said Allen, whose father Louis Allen Jr. died the same weekend last month as his son made the U.S. World squad. “I could not run. Just one thousand a second faster the reaction. There is just a lot of variables.. We are so close to the crowd so the fans in the stands are just so loud, also the guys did set at the different times, I just got distracted. It’s a little frustrating. There are a lot of variables in the race. We’re getting in the set and moving to say that was a factor as well. It’s so absolute. I’m hungry for everything I do. My goal is still to be the best hurdler ever and I still have a chance to do that.”
Allen will now focus his hunger on the NFL
The former Oregon wide receiver signed a three-year $2.5 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles after running a 4.35-second 40 yard dash at the Duck’s pro day in April.
“ My goal is to play in the NFL and help the Eagles win a Super Bowl. There’s not much I can do. It’s just one race, but it’s frustrating,” Allen said. “Track and field is so difficult because you train the whole year for one competition that lasts 13 seconds. Your identity is based on one competition which is frustrating. It happens and I’ll learn from it and not react as fast next time.”
Katie Nageotte had also been frustrated in recent months, struggling with post-Olympic blues after winning the gold medal in Tokyo last summer.
Nageotte was back at her best Sunday night as she and U.S. teammate Sandi Morris, the World indoor champion, both cleared a world lead 15-feet-11 with Nageotte winning by clearing the height on her first attempt, one fewer than Morris needed.
“I’ve really struggled to be honest,” Nageotte said. “There were so many times I considered retiring. So to come out on top is so special.”
Brooke Andersen, a converted discus thrower from Vista, got the day started by winning the hammer throw at 259-0.
It hasn’t really quite set in yet. I was looking out across the field and I thought to myself, I’m a world champion,” Andersen said.” I’m just very fortunate to have the competition I did have. I knew if I stayed in it and focused on the little things I could control and hopefully the performance would get better and be a gold medal. I will just remember shaking everyone’s hand, taking pictures with my supporters. I appreciate them to the max — my country, my coach, myself, family, supporters.”